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(JBy our Travelling Reporter.) The long period of dry weather at present being experienced, is everywhere telling its tale in the Ashburton County. In many places the fields present a bare and parched appearance, the districts along the main south line being the worst in this respect. Towards the hills the absence of moisture is not so noticeable, although • there has been a marked falling off in the growth of vegetation in those districts also during the past few weeks. In the May/ield district there is yet sufficient feed to meet requirements, but a resident in that locality remarked to a "Guardian" reporter yesterday that, it was seldom such a rapid falling away in grass-feed was experienced at this, time of the year. The abundance of feed yet available is reflected in the condition of the stock, all classes of which are looking remarkably well. The turnip cops are badly in need of rain. Two or three weeks ago several areas close to the road, leading into Mayfield, showed promise, of producing very satisfactory crops, but on account of the dry spell growth has been almost completely checked. The leaves are beginning to colour, and unless a change in the meteorological conditions takes, place shortly the outlook for winter feed will be anything but encouraging. Under ordinary circumstances it is stated there would only have been sufficient for local requirements.

Harvesting operations have been completed in the Mayfield district and the bulk of the crops are now in stack awaiting the threshing mill. Usually the greater part of the crops are thrashed out of the stook, but farmers this season were unable to get coal and were therefore compelled .to stack. The mill has already been at work and the returns so far are quite' as good as were expected. Although: labour is apparently plentiful in other parts of the country, this has not been the ■' experience in Mayfield. ' One mill owner remarked to the writer yesterday that the labour trouble was almost as acute as the coal shortage. He had experienced considerable difficulty in manning his mill, the remoteness of the district, he contended, being one of the chief causes of the trouble. Several farms have recently changed hands and residents look upon this as a certain sign of progress. The proverbial oldest settler remarked to a "Guardian" reporter yesterday that he had never known the land market to be so active, so far at least as his district was concerned. He thought that, as regarded productivity Mayfield compared with the, best in the country, and as its capabilities were becoming more widely known, the closer it was being settled. Residents generally are strongly in favour of the Surrey Hills Estate being acquired for the settlement of returned soldiers, and it is believed by those who know the carrying capacity of the land that it would provide a godd living for at least twenty men. In several instances the plough was to be seen at work in the Westerfield and' Mayfield districts yesterday. The ground is dry and hard, and in at least one case it was noticeable some difficulty was being experienced in keeping the implement in tile ground. At least two or three days' heavy rain is now required to put the land in order for tilling.

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Bibliographic details

RAIN WANTED., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9574, 1 April 1919

Word Count

RAIN WANTED. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9574, 1 April 1919

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